If you live in Silicon Valley, you probably know a lot of real estate agents (most of whom are Realtors). Some of them may have left the industry in the last few years since it’s gotten a lot harder to earn a living in this business.
For those like me who are still successful and committed to selling Silicon Valley homes, work weeks tend to be long (usually at least 6 days), busy and hard. The general public sometimes thinks that real estate agents just hold open homes on the weekend and do nothing more. That’s not the case, at least not for successful agents! Today I wanted to share with my readers how my time is typically spent. Each day, week and month is unique, but this will give you the general idea of how my work usually breaks down by time committment per month (the numbers reflect estimated hours per month).
By far the biggest identifiable part of my time is emailing with my current clients: answering emails, researching or answering their questions, looking homes up on the MLS for them, providing insights on pricing or comps, commenting on inspections, etc. Most days it’s much more than 2 hours if a buyer or seller is about to write or receive an offer. By the end of an escrow, it’s not uncommon for me to have several hundred emails going back and forth in the file.
Other large chunks of time go to seeing homes for sale: touring homes, either as part of the office tour, the real estate board tours (there are homes open to the broker community every weekday for different areas), and also previewing homes for my buyer clients or for my seller clients (to know better how to guide on pricing). Also several times a week I’m showing homes, of course. Lately I’ve been taking home buyer clients through places ranging from Cambrian Park, Willow Glen, Santa Clara and Campbell (a typical part of my turf) all the way to Foster City and San Mateo. Just driving back and forth is time consuming too.
In addition to working with current Silicon Valley home sellers and home buyers, a strong real estate agent must also both keep current on the changing market (and laws) by attending meetings & trainings and do other reading. These are smaller, but crucially important chunks of time. It is costly for everyone if the Realtor doesn’t keep current!
A less obvious but very important part of the real estate business is to always, always work to bring in future business. It is very easy to focus 100% of one’s time on the few active clients of the moment, but this is a huge mistake and it’s the quickest way for the agent to fail in the business. Despite good intentions, some buyers buy only after a very long time, or never, and the same is true for seller clients – they may or may not sell in a timely manner. So the successful agent must also make time for prospecting, follow up calls & emails, and personal marketing. For me, that’s mostly covered by blogging and social media. It’s much easier to sustain a good practice when you enjoy it, and I do enjoy writing so this is the main way I work to build future business. It sure beats most of the traditional ways to market and prospect! I also keep in touch with past clients, sometimes seeing them for coffee, lunch or drinks, but also keeping in touch by email and other ways.
Most days I have a couple of appointments and inbetween my time is flexible – I have lots of things to do, but most of the time not a tight deadline by which to do it. It’s important to keep balance so I don’t spend all my time on one or two clients, which would be to the detriment f my whole practice, but I make every effort to be extremely reachable and available. It is essential to have good time management so that the most important things all get done – both those items which are readily apparent to my clients and those which are not.
Silicon Valley real estate sales is a demanding job, but a rewarding one and I’m looking ahead to smoother days which are coming our way as we slowly make our way out of this Great Recession.
If you’re looking to hire a buyer’s agent or a seller’s agent in Santa Clara County, please drop me a note or give me a call. I’d welcome the opportunity to chat with you, confidentially, about real estate in the San Jose area.